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Bill Bennett


NZ SMEs say technology has no business impact

“Nearly one third of New Zealand small and medium-sized enterprises say digital technology has had no impact on their business over the past five years and 27 percent don’t expect it to in the next five years.”

— 2015 Westpac Grow New Zealand survey

From Many NZ SMEs say technology has no impact on their business | Scoop News. Small business productivity and technology.

I’d like to know more about the other two thirds. Are they seeing benefits? And three-quarter expecting to see benefits means the glass is well over half-full.

What about cloud computing, does the survey capture this?

The story goes on to quote the Productivity Commission:

“There’s no point just buying a computer, having a website or buying a smartphone, you have to also look at technology and what opportunities are presented by this stuff and completely re-engineer your business,” says Commission chair Murray Sherwin.

Well yes, but that’s as much a failure of the companies selling technology to New Zealand’s SMEs. There is still far too much emphasis on shifting boxes and selling software licences.



3 thoughts on “NZ SMEs say technology has no business impact

  1. Westpac’s 2015 Grow New Zealand survey reports nearly one-third of New Zealand small and medium-sized enterprises say digital technology had no impact on their business over the past five years and 27 percent don’t expect it to in the next five years.
    At first sight this looks bad, but the cup is two-thirds full. Most small businesses have seen advantages from using technology and almost three-quarters expect to see gains in the near future.
    There’s been a lot written about why technology often fails to deliver expected productivity benefits. It doesn’t tend to focus on small business.
    The technology industry should accept some blame for making exaggerated claims about what products can do. It sells things that are just good as game-changers and that’s only the thin end of the hype wedge.
    There’s something else.
    When cars first appeared on the roads 100 years ago, there were no rules. People didn’t know how to use cars properly. It took 15 years or so for road rules, traffic signs, speed limits and sensible laws to emerge. That’s how long people needed to adjust to the realities of the new technology.
    There’s a similar adjustment period with digital technology. We don’t all learn how to use these things to their best advantage overnight. That’s human nature.
    You say you want a revolution
    The difference between today’s digital technology and the dawn of the motor age a century ago is that revolution was a one-off. Cars and lorries evolved over the years, but the switch from horse-drawn vehicles to cars only happened once.
    In contrast, new digital technologies come along in successive waves. Even if we only pick out the major technology waves, they happen more than once a decade.
    Ten year ago companies didn’t have to deal with mobile data networks or cloud computing.
    And there’s the problem. We barely have enough time to learn the road rules of one technology transition before the next one turns up.
    Much has been said elsewhere about the need to be comfortable with continual change. Many of us seem fine with this on a personal level.
    Small business struggles with change
    However, when it comes to managing a small company, business owners have many responsibilities. The added burden of keeping up with changing business technologies and how to best exploit them can be too much on top of everything else.
    Larger companies can afford to dedicate staff to the job of keeping up with the play. Many don’t.
    Seeing two-thirds of New Zealand small and medium enterprises win gains from spending on technology is something to celebrate. It’s an achievement.

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